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Chains, ladders and fall protection

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2017 | Workers' Compensation

Ohio workers who use ladders in their jobs to complete tasks should be aware of the proper fall protection measures. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, self-closing gates, not chains, should be used on ladders.

Using a chain to secure a ladder is unwise because it requires a worker to stand on the ladder and use one hand to reattach the chain while his or her back is exposed to the hazard. On the other hand, self-closing gates eliminate the need to place an employee in a risky position by removing the opportunity for user error and always protecting ladders’ openings.

OSHA issued a letter of interpretation in 1982 that caused a lot of confusion regarding the use of gates around ladders. It stated that chains can be used instead of gates if the chains provide a level of protection that is equal to that of a swinging gate.

As a result of OSHA’s letter, many companies that manufacture building equipment that requires gates, such as aboveground tanks and overhead cranes, started providing chains instead of gates to cut costs. After years of widespread use, the practice of using chains became normal.

However, when discussing the rule they enacted in November 2016 regarding walking-working surfaces and fall protection, OSHA asserted that double chains provide inadequate fall protections at hole entrances. The group stated that entrances to platform holes and ladderway floors should have a self-closing gate to provide workers sufficient fall protection.

Individuals who sustain injuries at their workplaces, like construction site accidents, that were caused by unsafe conditions may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. A personal injury attorney may assist injured employees with filing claims and lawsuits against the parties whose actions contributed to the unsafe workplace conditions. Lawyers may also appeal decisions that deny their clients of their rightful compensation.